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Information on Host City
D.C. Joins Ranks of Top U.S. Dining Destinations
Psychiatric News
Volume 43 Number 4 page 25-41

Washington, D.C., has a dynamic restaurant scene that is home to some of the world's top chefs and offers a diverse range of culinary styles consistent with its status as an international center of political power and home to an incredibly diverse ethnic blend. Furthermore, the neighborhoods near the Washington Convention Center and many of the APA hotels have undergone tremendous development over the past few years so that visitors have an overabundance of excellent dining choices fitting any budget.

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If you would like a very special dining experience and are willing to pay for it, you can experience the work of several world-class chefs whose restaurants will certainly inspire and transport you. The eponymously named Michel Richard Citronelle in Georgetown is consistently rated the city's best restaurant. CityZen in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, under the direction of Eric Ziebold, formerly of the French Laundry in Napa Valley, provides a stellar experience. Three-star Michelin chef Yannick Cam prepares modern French haute cuisine at Le Paradou in the Penn Quarter. If you have some additional time to travel into the Virginia countryside, chef Patrick O'Connell's Inn at Little Washington, which has won more restaurant awards that it can probably keep track of, will provide you with an outstanding—though very expensive—dining experience.

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This arch signals the entrance to Washington, D.C.'s small Chinatown. While there are, of course, several Chinese restaurants to sample, the area and neighboring Penn Quarter are home to some of the city's best and most innovative new restaurants. 

Credit: Washington, D.C., Convention & Tourism Corporation (WCTC)

The area south of the convention center includes a high concentration of excellent restaurants, many of them new to the D.C. dining scene in the reinvigorated area called Penn Quarter. Rasika offers creative riffs on traditional Indian fare with a terrific wine list in a stylish setting. Jaleo serves Spanish food created by renowned chef Jose Andres and is D.C.'s best tapas restaurant. Zaytinya presents Greek, Lebanese, and Turkish mezze in a bustling, two-story setting—expect large and trendy crowds. A classic bistro menu with a spectacular selection of Belgian beers awaits you at Brasserie Beck. Regional Mexican cooking is the theme at Oyamel, like Jaleo and Zaytinya, part of Chef Andres's culinary empire. It offers a vast array of tapas-like dishes in a colorful dining room. Nearby, Rosa Mexicano is a beautifully designed upscale Mexican restaurant with a wide-ranging menu a highlight of which is guacamole made table-side from scratch. The name says it all with the Mediterranean-themed Proof, where much of the extensive wine list is offered by the glass, and the food is excellent as well. Chic Zengo combines Latin and Asian flavors in a cool vibe. One of the newest stars is Central Michel Richard, a superb bistro for food lovers who choose not to shell out big bucks for Richard's four-star Georgetown restaurant, Citronelle.FIG1

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Within walking distance of the White House, the JW Marriott, and many other hotels are several excellent dining choices, from casual to deluxe. Perhaps the best Italian food in D.C. can be found at Ristorante Tosca. The Occidental and the Old Ebbitt Grille are historic Washington institutions serving politicos and Washingtonians for decades. Ceiba provides a creative menu of South American and Caribbean selections in an attractive setting. Butterfield 9 serves inventive takeoffs on standard American fare. Ten Penh, which gets its name from its location at 10th and Pennsylvania, is an upscale restaurant with a creative take on Southeast-Asian seafood and meat dishes. Les Halles is a classic French bistro and steakhouse. As the name suggests, seafood is king at DC Coast, but with creative Asian, Latin, and Cajun variations.

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Foggy Bottom, which is home to George Washington University, and the West End are tucked between 19th Street to the east and Georgetown to the west. Many of the best dining establishments in the city can be found within these neighborhoods. Kinkead's is consistently rated among D.C.'s best seafood restaurants, serving the freshest fish in creative preparations. Blue Duck Tavern in the Park Hyatt Hotel serves farm-fresh ingredients and trendy but traditional American fare in a lovely setting. Westend Bistro in the D.C. Ritz-Carlton is new to the local dining scene and showcases chef Eric Ripert from world-famous Le Bernadin in New York, but without the formality usually associated with a Ritz-Carlton. Marcel's chef-owner, Robert Wiedmier, presides over a lovely setting with top-of-the-line French-Belgian cuisine. Notte Bianchi serves appealing Italian dishes, especially pastas, near the Kennedy Center. And you'll find outstanding, refined Southern cuisine at the always popular Vidalia.

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The trendy, low-rise neighborhood of Dupont Circle is a far cry from monumental Washington. Among the reasons to visit is its panoply of interesting dining choices at all price points. Dupont Circle itself, at the neighborhood's center, is one of the top people-watching spots in D.C. 

Credit: Washington D.C., Convention & Tourism Corporation (WCTC)

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Vibrant and trendy, the adjacent neighborhoods of Dupont Circle and Logan Circle are chock full of exciting places to eat (and shop). Tiny in size but big on accolades, Komi draws raves for its Greek- and Mediterranean-influenced prix-fixe multicourse menu. As their names suggest, fresh seafood is the draw at Hank's Oyster Bar and Pesce. Two Dupont Circle dining institutions still packing them in after many years are Obelisk, the most authentic, freshest Italian trattoria in D.C., and Restaurant Nora, the first local restaurant to serve entirely organic ingredients. The excellent Thai restaurant Rice, the Asian-inspired, Latin-themed Merkado Kitchen, the café and bookstore Busboys and Poets, and the soulful down-home feel of Crème Café should draw you to the hip, edginess of 14th Street and the U Street Corridor. The gay dining scene is also concentrated in these neighborhoods and includes the standard American fare of Logan Tavern and the Duplex Diner and the venerable Annie's Paramount Steak House.

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The neighborhood around the Capitol continues to attract Washingtonians for the historic beauty of its homes and tree-lined streets and the number of excellent, neighborly dining establishments. Montmartre is a lovely French bistro that receives terrific reviews. Sonoma is all about transporting you to Northern California to sample its fine cuisine and wines. Locanda serves Mediterranean-style fare with lovely pastas in an eco-friendly setting. Bistro Bis updates and upscales standard bistro fare in one of the Hill's best restaurants. Excellent crab cakes and fresh, simply prepared seafood await you at Johnny's Half Shell.

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Spring weather in the nation's capital compels locals and visitors alike to eat and drink at the dozens of sidewalk cafes, rooftop patios, and the tables many of the best restaurants place outside their doors. Even with the cherry trees having already bloomed by the annual meeting in May, spring is still the most beautiful time in Washington, and people-watching is always one of Washington's great sports. Lauriol Plaza, north of Dupont Circle, serves authentic Latin American dishes and great margaritas along with a fun, active street scene. Perry's, in the eclectic Adams Morgan neighborhood, has a wonderful urban view from its roof, which seems to enhance the flavor of its fresh and inventive sushi. The Sea Catch Restaurant and Raw Bar sits along the historic C & O Canal in the heart of Georgetown and serves fresh seafood and some of D.C.'s best crabcakes. The Georgetown waterfront has several restaurants worth trying including Sequoia and Tony and Joe's that allow wonderful views along the Potomac River.▪

Anchor for JumpAnchor for Jump

This arch signals the entrance to Washington, D.C.'s small Chinatown. While there are, of course, several Chinese restaurants to sample, the area and neighboring Penn Quarter are home to some of the city's best and most innovative new restaurants. 

Credit: Washington, D.C., Convention & Tourism Corporation (WCTC)

Anchor for JumpAnchor for Jump

The trendy, low-rise neighborhood of Dupont Circle is a far cry from monumental Washington. Among the reasons to visit is its panoply of interesting dining choices at all price points. Dupont Circle itself, at the neighborhood's center, is one of the top people-watching spots in D.C. 

Credit: Washington D.C., Convention & Tourism Corporation (WCTC)

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